Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I awoke to see snow covering the ground. It continued to snow all morning and Paul couldn't even leave for work until 11 because the road was covered.

It was quite a surprise considering we were only supposed to have a thunderstorm or two. It wasn't even supposed to get colder than 40 degrees.

I brought in the few pots of flowers and veggies but there isn't much I can do about the stuff in the garden. We spent all day Sunday moving dirt and a few rows of beans closer to the house to hopefully save a few of the seedlings and to prepare for the new seeds that arrived yesterday. It was so hot that I am sunburned on my head, shoulders and neck. It's amazing to compare the weekend with this morning!

My sunburned skin appreciated the cold weather though!

I'm trying not to become too frustrated by all the bad stuff that's been happening here but it's really difficult. We spent all day yesterday traveling 3 hours to see Lorna's specialist. It just amazes me that there are no closer doctors with the number of people that live within an hour of us. The people waiting in line behind us were from Bakersfield, so we aren't the only ones who have to travel.

The long drive and wait resulted in a 5 minute appointment. It seemed like a total waste which we will have to repeat in another 4 months. They also referred us to a different specialist for a routine check to evaluate when her next surgery will be. Of course that doctor is also located in that same building and only has a few appointments available. We will be repeating the trip in 2 weeks to see him. I'm not sure how many more of these visits we can afford before it becomes a huge problem. Paul cannot keep taking the afternoons off work and the price of gas is just insane ($3.25 a gallon as of last night).

I'm hoping things will calm down after all of this and we can get back to our normal life and expenses...

Friday, March 23, 2007

I guess this is why...

I was wondering why people couldn't mind their own business. I got my answer on another topic but I think it applies to my earlier post...

I saw the following response to a post on the possible banning of incandescent bulbs in the Ontario, Canada (article here)

I can see why you're a 'reluctant' Californian. So you're saying that if a few million people want to waste large amounts of energy, putting tons of extra carbon into the atmosphere, and releasing heavy metals into the water treatment system, they should be able to pollute everyone else's air and water?
If you've got your own planet, go ahead and pollute it. But as long as you're sharing one with everyone else, you have to make some sacrifices or you're harming everyone.
And if you do live in California, you're going to be more restricted than most Americans on making poor environmental choices.
So I guess this is it. We should all give up our freedoms so that others can save the environment. Where does it end? Will the restrictions ever get too invasive?

Here's is my thinking... These restrictions don't have anything to do with saving the world. If that was the case you would be able to get a mortgage on a solar home that isn't grid tied. Or you wouldn't be restricted on the size of the solar system you can put in, as we are here. It's about control. In this case the government wants control over what type of bulb you use in your lamp. In other cases, it's your neighbor who wants control over how you landscape you property, or what kind of home you can build, or whether you have a useless "shelter" for your horse.

Personally, I have enough to worry about in my own life. I don't want to worry about my neighbors. If they want to park a bunch of rusted out cars in their yard and call it landscaping that's fine with me. If they want to build a second story or run their electric bill up by foolish choices, I don't care. But I also want the same courtesy shown to me. I want to be left alone to live my life the way I want. If it's not hurting their physical body or destroying their property then it's none of their business what I do. If they don't like what I'm doing they can either buy me out or move, but I'm sick of people complaining because they want to run everyone else's life!

For those who feel the need to regulate everything, where will it end? What happened to freedom? The need to not offend or pollute or (insert the current pc subject here) seems to have eradicated the very thing which we claim we have...


I just want to know why people feel the need to meddle in others' affairs?

I was once again visited by animal control. Since we live in a much more remote location than the last time I was hoping this wouldn't happen. This time someone complained that our horse didn't have shelter. This horse had shelter at the rental and never once used it. It is very unnatural for a horse to stand in an enclosure since they have a need to keep their eyes open for predators. I will have to say that at the very least I feel that I have a right to know who made the complaint, but according to animal control I only have that right if I am taken to court.

The officer who visited our home even apologized since he knows that this is a stupid requirement. After hearing about our financial situation, he offered the building materials for free (he has enough stuff lying around his property) if we wanted to come pick them up, which we very happily agreed to do.

But this brought up another problem, two of the dogs are no longer registered. He asked to see the registrations. I brought out the two that haven't expired and told him I couldn't find the other two, which was actually true. I explained that we registered all four dogs at the same time, which was also true. The county changed the registration expiration on the two to coincide with their rabies vaccination dates. Once again unfair since I paid for a full year, and the one dog has a $60 registration fee! He called in the info but no one had time to get back to him, which I am thankful for. So now we get to have the dogs vaccinated tomorrow, which we were planning on anyway, and I get the "pleasure" of paying $105 to register the dogs for another year. Kinda expensive, you say? Well that's the penalty we get for living in socialist California!

We have been talking about putting the house on the market for a few weeks. The plan was to do it next spring, now I'm voting for today!

I wouldn't be surprised to find CPS on the door next. Someone will probably turn us in for not having a big enough shelter for our kids...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring cleaning and such

I've been very bad about updating my blog. I wish I could say we've been madly cleaning but all I've gotten accomplished is a really long list of things that need to be done. With the price of gas at $3.25 a gallon I have high hopes that we will be forced to stay home and work on that list, not that we have been going anywhere in the recent month.

We put in a garden about a month ago after the last frost. I had high hopes that we would start to see some action by now but it looks like the squirrels and bunnies have decided it is their own personal buffet. I saw a couple of shoots only to have them disappear the next day. It was very frustrating! I also didn't have very good luck with the seeds which I bought at a discount place so I broke down and ordered some more seeds from a seed catalog. I'm hoping for a better germination rate and I'm moving the garden closer to the house!

The fruit trees are blooming though and brightening up the yard!

Monday, March 12, 2007

It's always something...

I can never complain that my life is boring but I'm hoping for a better start to this week than last week ended.

Paul called me right after leaving the house on Friday, it seems the last time we had the tires rotated on the truck they somehow messed up the alignment. We knew we were going to have to buy tires in a few months but it wasn't supposed to be so soon. Unfortunately it had to be right then. I called around and no one had tires in stock that would fit. We had planned on finding a used set of smaller wheels so we could buy tires that would be more geared towards off-road conditions. Unfortunately the dealer that was helping us didn't find any in time. So after a number of calls I found a competent salesman who suggested an alternate size that is manufacturer approved. $800 later we have new tires and the alignment is fixed.

To add just a little more frustration our printer died during all of this calling around. So we had to replace that as well since Paul needs it for work.

It made for a very frustrating and emotional day for me. Since we live on a cash basis I had to do some quick juggling. The few projects we had planned, finishing the outside of the deck enclosure and ordering math books, have been put on hold indefinitely and the money for the extra property taxes will have to come from somewhere else. I don't know why I was so surprised, nothing ever goes as planned.

I'm just hoping this week will go more smoothly!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I just finished the book Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende. Anyone who knows me will understand that this is my kind of book. I've become almost obsessed with trying to pare down our life, both out of a sense of frugality and also the desire to lessen our dependence on big industry.

I was excited to see the book in the mail yesterday afternoon and just finished it. It's on the small side but packed with information that really made me think. I thought I would post a quote that really stuck with me...

"First, a modern automatic machine is no mere tool. It is a complex fuel-consuming being with needs of its own. It gobbles up energy; it demands care and maintenance; it even has bouts of temperament. In many cases no diaper will contain its mess. And all this on top of the initial chuck of cash it bites-its purchase price-which often amounts to a king's ransom. For these reasons, it not only serves but must be served. But it is more than another mouth to feed; as it becomes more involved and involving, it can easily invade the living space we formally reserved for ourselves, taking on functions once our own."
When I read this I just said, "Wow!" This is exactly the sentiment I have expressed to Paul so many times. We don't own a nice sound system or big screen TV but have friends and family who do. Looking at the space and money needed to house and maintain such equipment I am in awe. Much of this type of thing is used as an escape from the hardships of life and working. I often wonder if getting rid of the equipment and the needs it generates would alleviate the need for escape. Would getting rid of all the non-essentials eliminate the need to work at a job that requires escape?

So this brings me to the question of how much technology to use. I can look at the washing machine and see the benefits and drawbacks of such a machine. Having done laundry with washtubs and a hand wringer I know the health benefits but also see the huge drain on my time. So the drawbacks of the machine, the money needed to run it, are outweighed by the time I save. I can't say the same thing about the dryer. We have one but can't use it because we don't have a 220 outlet. For the last 6 months I have hung the laundry out to dry. It is a pain when the weather is bad but it's free. Why pay the exorbitant electric bill to generate what I already have for free, wind and heat? Yes there is a little more time involved, hanging up the laundry, and I have to plan ahead and watch the weather to make sure we have enough clothes during those times it's raining; but in my mind the benefits far outweigh the little demands.

I could go on and on but I think I want to digest a bit more before I post anymore of my thoughts. This just reminds me of why I enjoy reading so much, it forces me to think and question. Now that I have something to chew on I'm off to take the laundry off the line...

Thursday, March 01, 2007


We have had lots of snow, for us, so we have been forced to stay inside for the last 4 days or so. Typical of the weather here it is bright and sunny today with only a little of the snow holding over in sheltered places.

Since we were stuck inside I decided to catch up on a few sewing projects. I finished a skirt and top for Lorna.

The long overdue shower curtain is completed and up. I didn't realize how the old one made the room look so dark. The new one isn't anything really special, being simple and cream colored, but it doesn't detract from the tile in the shower like the old one did. I also made a panel to cover the wall cabinet, now all our junk is hidden.

Yesterday I spent the entire day cutting and ironing pattern pieces for a suit of Malachi. This is my least favorite part of sewing! The suit has a jacket, pants, and vest so the number of pieces is overwhelming. After looking at the pieces and scanty instructions I'm not too sure if it is gonna turn out. So far every time I've said that about a project it's turned out just fine but we will see.